I don’t know what it was that made me finally push the button. But, I did it. I changed the name on the facebook account this afternoon.
I’ve been living in this horrible duality for quite some time. I hate it. It’s like living two different lives. And the longer it went on, the worse I felt. I am out on Twitter. Relatively out on Google+. I am incredibly open on this blog. I just couldn’t continue holding back who I was where the majority of my friends and family live online.
About six months ago, I started a facebook account for “female” me. There are some friends who have known me for awhile and who I am obviously out too. But, the majority of the people who I am friends with on that account are people I’m comfortable talking with about this whole gender thing.
I’ve been debating what to do about this for a couple of months. One person suggests I should put the male facebook account to sleep. Someone else suggests I should kill it. While another thinks I should just come out there. When I came out to some local friends, I wrote that I was going to delete the male account. I got really close to doing that. But, I just couldn’t. I was concerned that anyone of them would see me missing and find the female account. Then I tried just leaving it alone. But, I kept finding myself looking in on friends and relatives to see what they were up too. What is this? Crack? Meth? Don’t tell me I’m addicted to this damn website? I’m telling you, it was driving me crazy.
Over the last week, I’ve had a lot to think about. I’m not going through this process for anyone else, but me. I have to be the one that lives within this body. I have to be the one to fight these suicidal thoughts. I have to be the one who works my ass off to be the person I feel like inside. What other people think, really doesn’t matter if I’m not happy with myself. Since I came out to a bunch of local friends, I have not been treated differently. People haven’t turned their backs on me. If anything, by being honest about who I am, I think I’ve gotten closer to many of these people.
When I got up this morning, I was feeling good. I was feeling strong. Recently, a little birdy told me about this little subsection in reddit dealing with glbt issues. I went there this morning and happened to stumble onto a link to a LOGO documentary streamed online for free about downhill bike racer Michelle Dumaresq. Michelle just so happens to be a trans woman. Of course, I’ve heard her story. Who in the trans world hasn’t? Afterall, I get the super secret transgender newsletter. I got the chance to watch the documentary this afternoon. It was so inspiring. Here she is, a post op woman competing as a professional athlete. And not being accepted by her fellow competitors. She’s really facing an uphill battle. There was a scene in the movie where she is getting a lot of email messages of support. And some trans athletes ask her how she found the courage to do this openly. Her response was “Of course you can do it. If you want it bad enough, you can do it.” Another scene showed a conversation with a legendary rider who happens to be lesbian. She gave Michelle her full support. It was great.
So, this afternoon, after thinking about it all day, I pulled the trigger, so to speak. I felt like I had Michelle Dumaresq sitting in the seat to the right, cheering me on. And another friend on my left holding my hand, reassuring me that it was going to be alright. That nobody was going to kill me for coming out as trans. I sat there for two hours afterward, recycling my profile page. I kept expecting my friend count to plummet. I started the day with 373 facebook “friends”. But, even before I changed the name, I scaled back to 367. I defriended a couple of people at work who might be a problem. And I defriended my 12 y/o niece, per my step sister’s request. Finally, after 2 hours of sitting in the library, with no movement, two people commented on a post I wrote before changing the name. They were both Navy people. One was a first class from my division. The other was a seaman I worked with in deck division. They both commented on the topic I posted about. Which was winter bike riding. No mention of the name change. No mention of gender. But, a few minutes later, I noticed a private message from the former seaman. It read “Did I miss something. Your name now reads as Rebecca.” I sat there frozen. Wasn’t I ready for this? Duh, I knew this would happen, right? I thought about answering him immediately. But, I’ve found with such things that if I sit back and think about it, I’ll come up with a better response. So, I think what I’m going to do is get back with him in the morning. And also write a blog post. The blog post will be for the people who are just finding out. I’ll post the link to my wall. And invite all comments. Lay it all out. Let’s get this over with.
There are still some potential headaches. There is one nice woman at work who I assisted in setting up her facebook account. She’s out as a lesbian. And she and I have talked about what it’s like to be gay from time to time when we close the store together. I’ve never said one way or the other where I stand. I’ve tried to get her feelings about trans people by asking her questions. I think she assumes that I’m gay. She’s a little bit of a question mark. Although I haven’t spoken to her yet, I highly suspect that she’s seen the name change. I work with her on Wednesday night. So, we’ll see how that goes. I think the worst thing that might come from her knowing is her unacceptance. And she might tell other coworkers. That will be painful. I don’t want the work environment to be stressful. But, I doubt it will result in the loss of my job.
The other issue is various relatives who were probably in the dark about this matter before today. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to send them each personal messages beforehand. But, the vast majority of these are people I so rarely see, that they will have so much time to digest this before I see them next, that it probably won’t matter. There is one cousin who posts actively and appears to be highly religious. I hope I can speak with him soon. Especially since he sees my dad regularly. Who knows. Given my sister’s recent actions, maybe she’s already told everyone in the family.
So, that’s where things stand as I go to sleep. See you all in the morning. I just hope the morning comes.